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Friday, July 26, 2013

22 Years Later...

So tomorrow is the day I start the drive up to St. Louis, to begin the first class in my graduate studies program. I'll drive about halfway tomorrow, spend the night with my cousin Leslie, and then make the second half of the trip the next day. There are several reasons for this. 1) One can never spend enough time with cousin Leslie, it seems. We grew up spending a week or more each summer together, but the separation of multiple states between us always kept that together time limited. We've had our adventures. Lazy days, long walks, turtle boils (no, not soup: hatchlings) on the beach, hurricanes, ponies and broken bones, Atlanta outings with my dear friend Dave crammed in the hatchback of my two seater car (chivalrous of him, to let Leslie have shotgun). She stood beside me at my wedding. Sacrificed her car keys to my hastily packed luggage. And still, we've never been to Spain together. But at least I can stop to see her on my way to St. Louis for a night. And 2) I can arrive in time for class early Monday morning not too tired from a 11-hour drive the day before.

And tonight, I can't tell how I feel. I mean, I'm definitely going. But it seems sort of unbelievable. And I wonder how it's going to go.

I first felt the certainty that I wanted this very degree 22 years ago. Twenty-two years. I can't believe that much time has passed. I just couldn't get there then, and so much has happened between that time and now. So I've always had to hold this degree thing loosely, and maybe it's because I am holding it so loosely, well-trained after more than two full decades, that I feel a little ambivalent tonight. One class is no guarantee that the MATS will ever really come into being, no matter how badly I want it.

God has allowed me to work in the very area I want to study in for most of those 22 years. At least it comes to almost 19 of them. I've been in various positions of the same company for more than 19 years now, with just a few breaks from work here and there when children were born. I want to add to my knowledge so that I can continue to do my work there better, and reach farther with it, maybe write more, speak publicly more, even teach at the high school, college, or institute level. Face to face interaction about my passion for God's work in this very culture? Another dream to hold loosely.

But I'm not as smart as I once was. I don't think as clearly or as quickly. I think I need to be de-fragged, because my brain seems to store things in smaller, more scattered bits than it once did. Whereas my friend and coworker Wes once said I had "a mind like a steel trap," these days it feels more like a stainless-steel colander. Can I do the work? Can I keep up? Retain? Respond as needed? I'm not so confident, actually.

But I have to go and see. Now that the opportunity is really here, at hand, I have to try. Whether this is one class and the final closing of the door, or the first of many yet to come, I won't be able to say for awhile yet. But tomorrow I take the first step. I load the car. I pack the books I haven't yet finished reading ahead of time. I fill the tank with gas. I put on the shades and plug in the iPod and double check the directions, trip the odometer, and give it a go.

It's a long-awaited adventure. What does He have in store? I said before, I would be like Abraham. I will go until He tells me to stop. He says His word is a lamp unto my feet. It doesn't say it's a flood light for the entire highway. I can only see the step right before me and not the longer road ahead.

So I'm taking one step. Tomorrow. One step in faith and action.


Stefan Ramirez said...

All of the journeys that are worth while are filled with trepeditions when you are wise. No journey leaves you unchanged or unchallenged that is worth while..
Better to risk it all. Better to throw everything you have out there. Play it safe, risk nothing? That's not faith.

--Rebecca said...

You are so right. That's not faith. And I have always said "I'd rather be ashes than dust."
I'm a little scared. Thanks for the encouragement.

Anonymous said...

The older I get the more I have come to believe that dreams and desires and goals are God-given.
We are meant to dream big, knowing that even if the goal is not quite accomplished here on earth (or for some, due to circumstances, never) the dream doesn't end. I believe you get to finish the goal in heaven. Heather

Anna said...

Yay! I'm excited for you.